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January 7th, 2012
10:00 PM ET

Reversing JFK: Santorum’s bid to marry faith and politics

Editor’s note: This is part of an occasional series of stories looking at the faith of the leading 2012 presidential candidates, including Mitt Romney, Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich. We also profiled the faith journey of Herman Cain before he suspended his campaign.

By Dan Gilgoff and Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editors

(CNN) - It was election night in November 2006, and Rick Santorum had organized a private Catholic Mass in a room at the Omni William Penn Hotel in Pittsburgh. The senator from Pennsylvania had just lost his re-election bid.

The Mass, held just before his concession speech, included a priest and Santorum’s close family and staff. Though the occasion was somber, the soon-to-be-ex-senator aimed for a celebratory mood, said Mark Rodgers, then a top Santorum aide.

“Life is if full of what can be perceived as disappointments or hardships,” Rodgers said, “but Scripture tells followers of Jesus that we approach those situations with joy because there’s ultimate redemption.”

Santorum’s younger brother, Dan, remembers that many attendees - including the senator’s children - were weeping over Santorum’s landslide defeat at the hands of Democrat Bob Casey Jr.

But not the senator.

“You’d think he would have been crushed,” says Dan Santorum. “But he wasn’t even bitter. He didn’t complain. He just said it was God’s plan.

“That’s when I knew he was going to run for president of the United States,” Dan continued. “Because I think that God had another plan for him.”

It’s unclear if Rick Santorum, whose strong finish in the Iowa caucuses has breathed new life into his presidential campaign, interpreted his Senate loss the same way.

Santorum concedes his Senate seat in 2006.

But the hotel Mass, and Santorum’s apparent placidity in the face of an overwhelming defeat, illustrate what confidants say is the key to understanding him as a person and politician: a devout Catholic faith that has deepened dramatically through political and personal battles.

“When I first met him he was an observant Catholic but a fairly privatized one,” says Rodgers, who ran Santorum’s first race for the U.S. House in 1990 and served as a key Santorum aide in Congress for 16 years.

“The journey I saw him on was a gradual awakening to the importance of faith at an operational level within a democracy, the idea that free people need to have a moral foundation.

“The journey was also personal - growing in faith and sharing it with others,” Rodgers says.

Many politicians have ideological concerns about issues like abortion or gay marriage, but “in Santorum’s case, it’s fundamentally religious,” says Richard Land, public policy chief at the Southern Baptist Convention. “That’s the genetic code of his life.”

It’s also the part that most inspires his political backers - among them the Iowa evangelicals who helped fuel his stunning Iowa finish, eight votes behind winner Mitt Romney - and most enrages critics, who take deep offense at Santorum’s views on divisive issues like homosexuality, which he once lumped together with bestiality in a discussion of legal rights.

“I think it’s fair to say that he’s sometimes harsh in the way he makes those arguments,” says Michael Gerson, a speechwriter for former President George W. Bush.

Indeed, even Santorum’s own party is seeing a faith-based split around his presidential campaign, with evangelicals who dominate the primaries in states like Iowa on one side and more establishment Republicans in states like New Hampshire on the other.

As he works to convince skeptical voters he has a real shot at winning the White House, Santorum’s religious faith has emerged as both his chief political asset and his biggest liability.

Kennedy's ‘sealed off’ wall

His Catholicism may have deepened as an adult, but Santorum also has deep Catholic roots.

“Three pictures hung in the home of my devoutly Catholic immigrant grandparents when I was a boy,” he said in a speech last year. “I remember them well: Jesus, Pope Paul VI and John F. Kennedy.”

Santorum attended Mass with his brother, sister and parents virtually every Sunday. “You basically had to be on your deathbed not to go to church,” says Dan Santorum.

Both parents worked in a VA hospital in Butler, Pennsylvania. As teenagers, Rick and Dan would push the wheelchairs of patients to Sunday Mass in the hospital’s interfaith chapel. Rick would serve the Mass as an altar boy, wheel patients up to receive Holy Communion, then help his brother wheel them back to their hospital rooms.

Other than that, it was a conventional American Catholic upbringing in the 1960s and ’70s: The Santorums said grace before meals, sent their kids to Catholic grade school and spent absolutely no time discussing how religion influenced their public policy views.

American Catholics at the time were living in the shadow of John F. Kennedy’s famous 1960 speech in which he insisted that neither his faith nor his church would have any influence on his presidency.

Santorum would spend his political life trying to reverse the effects of Kennedy’s pledge. He argued that Kennedy “sealed off informed moral wisdom into a realm of non-rational beliefs that have no legitimate role in political discourse.”

During college and law school at Penn State, Santorum wasn’t especially observant; neither did his religious faith factor much into his political views.

After college he served as an aide to Doyle Corman, a moderate Republican state senator in Pennsylvania. Religion seldom came up.

“My husband and I are both pro-choice,” Corman’s wife, Becky, told The New York Times in 2006. “One of the interesting things about Rick is, the whole time he worked for us, we didn't know what his views were on that issue.”

Dan Santorum says a turning point in his brother’s faith life was his marriage to Karen Garver. They met in the 1980s while Karen was studying law at the University of Pittsburgh and Santorum was recruiting law students for the Pittsburgh firm where he worked.

“There was just a bond between them,” Dan says. “Part of that was that they shared their faith.”

That bond was on display last Tuesday during Santorum’s speech after the Iowa caucuses.

“C.S. Lewis said, ‘A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you’ve forgotten the words.’ My best friend, my life mate, who sings that song when I forget the words, is my wife, Karen,” Santorum said before embracing her in a long hug.

Santorum bows his head in prayer during an Iowa campaign rally in January.

Sometime after arriving in Washington following his 1990 House victory, Santorum began attending daily Mass before work.

The Rev. Eugene Hemrick, who frequently leads Mass at 130-year-old St. Joseph’s on Capitol Hill, says Santorum led Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback - who served with Santorum in Congress in the 1990s and 2000s - to the church.

“Santorum was always dressed up,” Hemrick remembers. “Brownback was in sweats a lot from running.”

The evangelical Brownback wound up converting to Catholicism, and the two were often joined in the pews by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

“When you know these people are out there, you do a little more homework before you preach,” Hemrick said of his high-profile flock. “You try to make it a little more meaningful to them.”

Moral codes and absolutes

The 1990 GOP freshman class, a small group that managed to win in a poor year for Republicans nationally, took a confident line in airing grievances to congressional and party leaders.

Santorum was part of the freshman “Gang of Seven” that exposed the House banking scandal, and he kept up his penchant for bold, against-the-grain gambits after his election to the Senate as part of the 1994 Republican Revolution.

Soon he was taking aim at the overriding culture-war issue of our time: abortion.

Santorum helped lead the effort to impose the first federal restrictions on abortion that could survive court challenges since Roe. v. Wade - a ban on the procedure critics call partial-birth abortion.

Faith and politics may have been separate in Santorum’s childhood home and the homes of other American Catholics at the time, but by the 1990s abortion had become the symbol for the infusion of conservative faith into American politics. The issue forged a powerful political alliance between conservative Catholics and evangelical Protestants.

On the wall of his Senate office, Santorum kept a picture of William Wilberforce, the British parliamentarian whose evangelical faith stirred him to lead the campaign that ultimately ended the British slave trade in 1807.

The senator saw his campaign for the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act as his “Wilberforcean effort,” says Rodgers, now a senior adviser to Santorum’s presidential campaign.

Santorum’s comfort with using his faith to shape his politics was partly a reflection of Catholic intellectuals he had met since arriving in the capital, including Richard John Neuhaus, a priest who edited the Catholic journal First Things, and George Wiegel, a theologian.

For Santorum, such figures and books by Catholic writers like St. Augustine instilled the sense that free societies need citizens who are governed by strong moral codes.

“How is it possible, I wonder, to believe in the existence of God yet refuse to express outrage when His moral code is flouted?” Santorum said in a ’90s-era speech at the Heritage Foundation. “To have faith in God, but to reject moral absolutes?”

For Santorum, legalized abortion represented the ultimate flouting of that code.

The Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act passed Congress in 1995, but President Bill Clinton vetoed it the following year. Santorum led a failed Senate effort to override the veto and helped revive the bill after the election of President George W. Bush, who signed it into law.

Such campaigns helped make Santorum a national hero to the anti-abortion movement and a bogeyman for abortion rights supporters.

“On the morning after the Iowa caucuses, there were millions of pro-life voters who woke up pinching themselves that one of their very own had emerged at the top rank of candidates, making sure it wasn’t a dream,” said the Southern Baptist Convention’s Land.

Around the time of the Clinton veto, Rick and Karen Santorum confronted a tragedy that added flesh-and-bone experience to their anti-abortion stance, which had up until then been intellectual and religious.

By that time, the Santorums had three children. While pregnant with her fourth, doctors told Karen her fetus had a fatal birth defect. In his 2005 book “It Takes a Family,” Santorum writes about Karen turning down the option to have an abortion.

“Karen and I couldn’t rationalize how we could treat this little human life at 20 weeks’ gestation in the womb any different than one 20 weeks old after birth,” Santorum writes. “So instead of giving our child a death sentence, we gave him a name: Gabriel Michael, after the two great archangels.”

The premature baby died two hours after birth. The next day, in a move that has widened the public opinion gap over Santorum, he and his wife took the dead body home so their children could spend time with it before burial.

“Gabriel died as a cherished member of our family,” Santorum writes in “It Takes a Family.”

Karen captured the episode in a 1998 book, “Letters to Gabriel,” describing to her late child the reaction of one of his sisters: “Elizabeth proudly announced to everyone as she cuddled you, ‘This is my baby brother, Gabriel; he is an angel.’”

For Santorum, who now has seven kids, holding Gabriel was a lesson about the fragility of human life.

Santorum, wife Karen, and his seven children.

“At that moment, eternity became reality,” Santorum writes. “After Gabriel, being a husband and father was different, being a legislator was different. I was different.”

Conservatism and the common good

Santorum has received a glut of media attention for how his religion shaped his culture-war stances, but allies say his faith has made him a compassionate conservative.

As a senator, Santorum was known for his work on poverty and combating HIV/AIDS. He says such efforts are rooted in the Catholic notion of working for the “common good.”

“Just as original sin is man’s inclination to try to walk alone without God,” Santorum writes in “It Takes a Family,” “individualism is man’s inclination to try to walk alone among his fellows.”

Santorum and those close to him say that impulse motivated his work on welfare reform during the mid-1990s.

Many conservatives “would have taken a fairly harsh view of welfare reform as a waste of taxpayer dollars,” says Rodgers. “Rick’s view was that publicly funded programs are justified when it’s for the least of these, which comes from Catholic social teaching.

“There’s a compassionate side of the Catholic faith that says you prioritize the poor in public policy, and there’s also the side that says work should be a component of that care, that not working strips you of your dignity.”

Santorum championed welfare-to-work programs in the 1996 Welfare Reform Act that Clinton signed, as well as the idea of charitable choice, which gave states the ability to partner with religious institutions to address social problems like poverty and addiction.

Success on welfare reform provoked Santorum and a handful of other religious Republicans in Congress to begin discussing conservative solutions to poverty and other social problems that had mostly been the province of liberals.

Among the participants in those sessions was Gerson, who would join Bush in Texas as a speechwriter in the run-up to his 2000 presidential campaign and bring some of the ideas of the congressional group with him.

One was a plan to start a federal program to help level the playing field for religious groups applying for government money to address social problems.

For Santorum, employing faith groups in such a campaign was partially grounded in the Catholic idea of subsidiarity, which calls for addressing problems closest to where they are. In many troubled communities, the thinking goes, the strongest local institutions are churches, ministries and other religious organizations.

The notion of outsourcing government programs to religious institutions also appealed to Santorum’s beliefs about government’s limits.

“The problems currently afflicting us reflect an impoverishment of the soul more than the pocketbook,” Santorum has said, quoting conservative education scholar Chester Finn. “Government is simply not equipped to address problems of the soul.”

The idea for a government faith-based program had critics on the left and right, who feared government-backed religion and a welfare system for churches.

“A lot of people have a hard time getting Rick Santorum because they’re used to a debate between liberalism and complete free market approach and he’s not either of those things,” says Gerson, now a Washington Post columnist.

Bush created the Office of Faith-Based and Community Partnerships via an executive order days after his 2001 inauguration. Santorum helped organize a conference to tell religious leaders from across the country about the new program.

“It was on that day that I decided to swallow my constitutional concerns about it,” says Richard Land, who attended the conference despite reservations.

“Seventy-five percent of the people attending the conference were either African-American or Hispanic,” Land says. “They wanted people who lived where the problems were making decisions about what should be done. They were in a lifeboat situation.”

Santorum was also a key Bush ally in creating the president's $15 billion global AIDS initiative, with the senator’s staff sometimes lending office space to rock singer Bono while he was lobbying for the program on Capitol Hill.

President Barack Obama has continued support for both the faith-based office and the global AIDS initiative. The programs are evidence that Santorum can be more than a culture warrior, and their staying power suggests he's gone a long way breaking through JFK’s sealed-off wall between religion and politics.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Politics • Rick Santorum

soundoff (2,874 Responses)
  1. A mom

    This is the guy I want for President– I like everything about him. And shame on those who criticize his mourning over his baby and allowing the family time to mourn. Clearly, that is a very personal decision, and one rooted in the fundamental belief that the child was valuable and worth mourning.

    January 8, 2012 at 9:37 am |
    • The Central Scrutinizer - A Dad

      That was some sick sh.it man.

      January 8, 2012 at 9:40 am |
    • The Central Scrutinizer

      All opinions aside on the dead baby issue. Is they WHY you want him to be president? Because he sleeps with corpses and introduces dead children to his family? Would there happen to be anything sturdier on which to base an opinion on his ability to be president?

      January 8, 2012 at 9:43 am |
    • The Central Scrutinizer

      A....Mom
      You got anything else rolling around in your empty head??

      January 8, 2012 at 9:54 am |
    • Back To The Cave

      *** The Central Scrutinizer

      A....Mom
      You got anything else rolling around in your empty head??

      NOPE, NADA, ZILTCH.

      January 8, 2012 at 10:59 am |
  2. Sabina

    This guy is dangerous to the American people. This statement alone "Just as original sin is man’s inclination to try to walk alone without God" proves it. Who is he to accuse others of original sin? As I was born and raised a catholic, I felt guilty & bad as a child b/c the church kept telling me I was born with original sin. For the 17 years I was a catholic, they never let up with the message that we were sinners, had to go to confession, and live a life of redemption. This screwed me up beyond belief and sent me straight to drugs, alcohol and the therapists office.
    I refused to do this to my kids and guess what Rick? They are not sinners and they are NOT immoral.

    January 8, 2012 at 9:36 am |
    • JT

      Congratulations on stopping this cycle of abuse and saving your children from this virus.

      January 8, 2012 at 9:41 am |
    • I'm Confused.

      So you have rewritten your definition of a Sin to make you feel better about yourself ?

      January 9, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
  3. JT

    How interesting. Evangelical protestant christians are choosing a Catholic and a Mormon to lead their reich.

    January 8, 2012 at 9:34 am |
    • TRH

      They"ll do anything to get their theocracy installed in this country. People of intelligence and logical thought must be vigilant.

      January 8, 2012 at 9:48 am |
    • I'm Confused.

      TRH – People of intelligence and logical thought
      Tell me T, when is a stone not a stone ?

      January 9, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
  4. Light In The Black

    **** their agenda of “bedroom activities”, i.e. abortion, which I think is way out of control....

    Wow, i wasnt aware that abortion was a bedroom activity.

    January 8, 2012 at 9:34 am |
    • Relictus

      It will be if the ultraconservatives get their way. Bedroom/back alley ... same thing. Some guy playing "doctor".

      January 8, 2012 at 9:41 am |
  5. Cassandra Chu

    ... Judaism, Christianity, Islam... all so sooo stupid. The philosophy of Confucius emphasized personal and governmental morality, correctness of social relationships, justice and sincerity... before the other religions, 550 BC.
    Just look at the wars today: American Christians killing Middle Eastern Muslims at the request of Israeli Jews. Sick.

    January 8, 2012 at 9:33 am |
    • Barry Kingston

      Have you even read Jewish and Christian scripture? What better statement is there about the dignity of man and the proper foundations of community? Put aside your presumptions and sit down and try reading the Torah and the Gospels. Confucianism is fine, although even more Patriarchal than Western traditions are.

      January 8, 2012 at 9:56 am |
    • Willy Bobo

      "My philosophy is better than your philosophy" is the root of the problem.
      Study China's history since 550BC and tell me it is better in some way than the rest of the world.

      January 8, 2012 at 10:03 am |
    • Shayna

      WHAT??? At the request of Israeli Jews? "if the Arabs stop fighting Israelis, war will end. If Israelis stop fighting, Israel will end."

      January 8, 2012 at 10:15 am |
    • Back To The Cave

      Seems to me, its the muslims killing the jews and christians.
      You must be a republican, they like to re-write history.

      January 8, 2012 at 11:01 am |
  6. haseeb

    Anyone asking my vote on the basis of religion, get my middle finger.!
    Keep your religion inside your home and come and discuss where you stand on how to improve the life and economy. The days of conservatives and liberals are gone!
    Now it is the time for progressive minds to take over the country!!
    GO RON PAUL!!

    January 8, 2012 at 9:33 am |
    • Willy Bobo

      If Ron Paul is your idea of a progressive mind we are really in trouble.
      If you want less government and less restrictions go try living in Somalia.

      January 8, 2012 at 10:06 am |
  7. Cassandra Chu

    ... Judaism, Christianity, Islam... all so sooo stupid. The philosophy of Confucius emphasized personal and governmental morality, correctness of social relationships, justice and sincerity... before the other religions, 550 BC.
    Just look at the wars today: American Christians killing Middle Eastern Muslims at the request of Israeli Jews. Sick.

    January 8, 2012 at 9:33 am |
  8. Knucklehead

    That photo looks like the making of a really funny sitcom...

    January 8, 2012 at 9:30 am |
  9. TownC

    We need to respect everyone's religious beliefs...including Mr. Santorum's. As for him forcing his religion down our throats, I don't see it. His speeches are not sermons. I don't support him but I am not afraid of him. Ideas can be scary things but we should talk about them, not shout them down.

    January 8, 2012 at 9:29 am |
    • Todd in DC

      Grow up. He wants to say who can get married, what women can do with their own bodies, and what should be taught in schools.

      That is the definition of shoving religion down our throats.

      January 8, 2012 at 9:33 am |
    • Knucklehead

      I believe that's exactly what's going on (we're talking about it). I'm not afraid of him either until he gets into office.

      January 8, 2012 at 9:34 am |
    • Muri

      Normally I would totally agree with an even-headed approach. The problem is that you can put 'Santorum' in Youtube and in 30 seconds find 10 recent and relevant videos of him going on tirades very specific to this topic.

      So no, it's obvious what his intentions are, and they are bad. In fact they are SO bad the founding fathers of this country wrote about this very topic ad-nauseum to ensure we had a record in history of why this EXACT idea is non-conducive to a civil democratic society.

      Here are some starting points for you, taken right from the pages of our history books my friend:
      -The 1796 Treaty with Tripoli states that the United States was..."not in any sense founded on the Christian religion"
      -"Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise." -letter to Wm. Bradford, April 1, 1774
      -"The purpose of separation of church and state is to keep forever from these shores the ceaseless strife that has soaked the soil of Europe in blood for centuries." -1803 letter objecting use of gov. land for churches
      -"Ecclesiastical establishments tend to great ignorance and corruption, all of which facilitate the execution of mischievous projects."

      Want more? I can do this ALL day.

      January 8, 2012 at 9:39 am |
    • Relictus

      Not all beliefs are equal. Being a moral person requires that you set and keep some standards. Mr. Santorum chooses beliefs that do not meet my standards. He is immoral because he believes in sin and fairy tales. I believe in Justice and Truth.

      January 8, 2012 at 9:45 am |
    • I'm Confused.

      We spend all this time talking about everyones ideas except Obama's. His ideas / ideals are the scariest thing of all.

      January 9, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
    • Dave in Portland

      I'm Confused – Why?

      Seriously, tell me why. In your own words. Don't regurgitate Rush Or Glen.

      I sincerely would like to hear your opinion.

      I am neither left nor right, so I am not saying this with animosity. I'm just tired of people throwing out blanket statements that tow the party line, but are unable to think for themselves.

      January 9, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
  10. jnpa

    Santorum is a right wing religious nut. His views are more radical than the Pope's. He should be reminded that this is a political race...he is not running for bishop, cardinal or pope!

    January 8, 2012 at 9:28 am |
  11. Dan

    I can't vote for someone that is dumb enough to really believe there is a god in this day and age.

    January 8, 2012 at 9:28 am |
    • Joe

      You are going to regret this comment if there really is one lol

      January 8, 2012 at 9:31 am |
    • Knucklehead

      So Joe, your religion is really just an insurance policy? You believe just in case there is a God? Now that's what I call faith....

      January 8, 2012 at 9:35 am |
    • Jim

      I have no problem with someone who believes in a mythical being. Shoot, they all do. As long as he doesn't impose that mythical being on me.

      January 8, 2012 at 9:47 am |
    • Dave in Portland

      Joe – See, that's the problem. So many christians are only religious because they are afraid. They're playing a big game of what if. My view on it is that if you worship out of fear then you are not true to your god and therefore are doomed anyway.

      January 9, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
  12. Muri

    Another Republican push for less government....nothing to see here folks, just a move to control every ASPECT of your life instead. And you people claimed universal health care was "over reaching" HA! That's down right hilarious.

    I'm no fan of Obama but to pin the problems of this country that "you" did on his sleeve and then turn around and push this guy to the front of the pack this is just laughable. Seriously, most of us are anxiously awaiting the punchline.

    January 8, 2012 at 9:28 am |
  13. Knucklehead

    Part of beind American is accepting other's principles...or their apparent lack of them. Why is it so important for elected officials? Do you ask your roofer or mechanic or dentist what values they have? Do you pray over your house or your car or your teeth with them? Did that get your car started? Don't you remember that Hitler reached out to Catholics? Now there was a guy with values....

    January 8, 2012 at 9:27 am |
    • Todd in DC

      My roofer is not in a position to create laws based on his beliefs that impinge on my freedom.

      January 8, 2012 at 9:35 am |
    • Knucklehead

      In which case he would be a poor elected official, and not worthy of your vote. I'm not defending Santorum's cross-over of his faith into his role as an elected official. I'm wondering why someone would elect a so-called "person of faith" when it's clear they're an idiot, and incapable of the job (re: George W. Bush). Believeing in God doesn't make you more capable, or smarter.

      January 8, 2012 at 9:39 am |
  14. The Central Scrutinizer

    This country elected B-movie actor Ronald Reagan for two terms who then ran the largest budget deficit in history (a mess the Dems had to clean up) and sold arms to Iran. Don't even get me stated on his policy regarding HIV/AIDS.

    This country elected a mentally challenged George Bush not once, but twice who increased debt spending over 5 Trillion (which the Dems now have to clean up yet again) and oversaw the collapse of the banks. Don't even get me started on Iraq and Katrina.

    If this country will vote for these two dip-sh.its, they will vote for ANYBODY.

    Folks, it is time to push the GOP, Big Business, Big religion and special interests OUT and take back what is ours. Keep Obama in the white house, fill the seats with Dems. VOTE and don't be afraid to debate with friends and family. The time to be PC is over, it is time to speak out!

    January 8, 2012 at 9:26 am |
    • Knucklehead

      You left out the Contras and how Bush Sr. pardoned everybody so Lawrence Walsh (a staunch, upstanding Republican that served as Ike's Deputy Attorney General) had no one to investigate. Are those values? Is that justice?

      January 8, 2012 at 9:29 am |
    • Joe

      Because Democrats are so effective LOL.

      January 8, 2012 at 9:33 am |
    • The Central Scrutinizer

      Joe, little drive by statements like that just make you an ignorant bore. If you want to challenge my post, great. But you have said nothing. You add nothing.

      January 8, 2012 at 9:38 am |
    • Light In The Black

      *** Joe

      Because Democrats are so effective LOL.

      Right Joe, kinda hard for the dems to climb the pole and fix the light,
      when the repubs keep pouring grease down the pole.
      You have been branded just like cattle, but your brand is broken.

      January 8, 2012 at 9:54 am |
    • TRH

      Finally someone who truly gets it. We can't doubt for a moment that there are people in this country who would establish a theocracy in this country. Oh, yes....they'll deny it of course, but trust me...It's true. Listen to their rhetoric and read between the lines....research these people....you'll find out what their agenda truly is.

      January 8, 2012 at 9:54 am |
  15. Frank fox

    He will replace the statue of Washington for the statue of Mary !!! no way i can support him.

    January 8, 2012 at 9:26 am |
  16. Jesus Mohammad Jones Phd , Agnosticism studies of common sense

    Gotta love religion. Second to money as the root of all evil.

    January 8, 2012 at 9:25 am |
    • Dana

      It looks like it just moved to the top spot.

      January 8, 2012 at 9:30 am |
    • albert

      That is actually an often misquoted saying. The "Love" of money is the root of all evil. Not "Money is the root of all evil". Read for yourself: 1 Timothy 6:9, 10

      January 8, 2012 at 9:35 am |
    • jim atmadison

      Love of money, not money itself is the root of evil. And religion is an entirely different thing than having a faith in and love for Christ.

      Religion allows people like Santorum to behave in entirely un-Christlike ways and claim that it's not only OK, but it's God's way.

      January 8, 2012 at 9:37 am |
  17. albert

    The amount of hypocrisy by the Catholics church is sickening. Their backing Hitler and the recent pedophile scandal is just the tip of the iceberg. They do not follow Jesus. If they did, they would not even remotely consider running for political office. Jesus promoted his Fathers kingdom and no other. In fact he asked that his followers be no part of this world (politically, morally, etc). Then there are all the pagan and Greek traditions that this Church follows. Again, this is sickening.

    January 8, 2012 at 9:24 am |
    • Willy Bobo

      Christians are generally hypocritical in my experience. Singling out the Catholics is disingenuous.
      Fundamentalist Christians support the death penalty how's that for hypocrisy.
      (Jesus was executed illegally in case you missed that.)

      January 8, 2012 at 10:23 am |
  18. UMMMM

    OMG, THE LITTLE GIRL IS PRETENDING HER BABY DOLL IS GABRIEL!-Warped family indeed-I think the stories that are going to be told about the Santorums in the future are going to be epic.

    January 8, 2012 at 9:23 am |
  19. Mohwn

    The more I hear of this anti-American slimebag, the less I like him. The dead baby incident should have landed him in Jail for abuse of a corpse.

    January 8, 2012 at 9:21 am |
  20. Tao2112

    How old was RS when his two oldest kids were born?

    TAX ALL RELIGIONS!

    January 8, 2012 at 9:19 am |
    • TRH

      Be careful what you wish for. Religions are not taxed precisely because of the separation of church and state. Tax them and they will demand a legitimate right to legislate or at least heavily influence same. Religion already has much too much influence on our legislative process without being given government mandate to legitimize that influence.

      January 8, 2012 at 10:02 am |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.